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Premier League Preview: Crystal Palace vs. Manchester United

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  • Manchester United have just one point in their last three away matches
  • The Red Devils are eight points back of European qualification and 11 back of the top four
  • Crystal Palace has allowed 34 goals this season, third best in the bottom half

Two teams in desperate need of a win come into Selhurst Park looking to duel it out for three points at 12:30pm ET on NBC, or live online at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Manchester United have just four points in their last five matches, and if they wish to keep their slim Champions League hopes alive, they must return home with the spoils against a Crystal Palace squad that’s troubled top teams in the past.

The Red Devils recently learned that Wayne Rooney has signed a five-and-a-half year contract extension, and he will once again be vital for the visitors to remain in the hunt for the top four.

Another man of importance for Manchester United will be Robin van Persie, who has been touch-and-go since his return from injury four matches ago. He has three goals since, but has also drifted in and out of the matches, registered some poor misses, and has failed to have a late impact in most of them.

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Tony Pulis has Crystal Palace riding high, up out of the relegation zone and into temporary safety. Their stout defense has allowed just nine goals in their last 10 matches, and United should find it difficult to get through fully-fit squad.

However, it’s of vital importance that the hosts kick United while they’re down, or else they risk falling back into the relegation zone. They sit just two points above the drop despite their recent run, and have one of the Premier League’s most difficult schedules down the season’s stretch run, with much of it on the road.

What they’re saying

Tony Pulis on Manchester United’s season: “They just haven’t had the breaks, that momentum to take them forward. Last year under Sir Alex they didn’t play as well as the year before, but they got the breaks. This year they’ve not been able to pick up any momentum. But they have wonderful players and are a wonderful football club and we will be proud to host them.”

Crystal Palace’s Joe Ledley on facing Manchester United: “We are looking forward to playing against the likes of Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and van Persie. We know it’s going to be a very difficult game but we look forward to it.”

David Moyes on United’s 2-0 win in the reverse fixture: “We could have done with scoring more goals, but I thought we were dominant from the first whistle. I don’t think the result was ever in doubt.”

Prediction

With Manchester United struggling, and Crystal Palace flying high, it’s quite possible that the home side takes something from this match. United have plenty of disappointing matches in their recent results.

However, with the boost of Wayne Rooney’s new deal and a fully fit attack, Manchester United pulls out the win and pegs back Crystal Palace’s attempts to avoid the drop with a 2-1 win for the visitors.

VIDEO: Henrikh Mkhitaryan scores beauty for Man United

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30: Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Manchester United controls the ball under pressure from Aaron Cresswell of West Ham United during the EFL Cup quarter final match between Manchester United and West Ham United at Old Trafford on November 30, 2016 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
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Here he comes.

When Henrikh Mkhitaryan signed for Manchester United in the summer big things were expected.

It’s taken him a while to settle but now the Armenian playmaker has scored his first goal for United with a stunning superb solo effort against Zorya Luhansk on Thursday in the UEFA Europa League.

Watch the video below to see Mkhitaryan put United 1-0 up.

What a goal.

VIDEO: Is this the worst open goal miss in history?

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My goodness.

You truly have to see this a few times to believe it is possible.

[ MORE: Ranking the PL superstars

Stunning footage from a game between National Vatera and Makedonikos Kozanis in Greece’s four-tier last weekend has emerged as Kozanis striker Thanasis Takidis goes clean through on goal, gets one yard out but then somehow delays his shot and is blocked on the line by a defender, then the ball gets away from him.

Watch the clip above to see probably the worst miss you will ever see.

I mean, come on man…

Kashima beats Auckland City 2-1 in opener of Club World Cup

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - DECEMBER 08:  Daigo Nishi of Kashima Antlers heads the ball over Angel Berlanga of Auckland City during the FIFA Club World Cup Play-off for Quarter Final match between Kashima Antlers and Auckland City at International Stadium Yokohama on December 8, 2016 in Yokohama, Japan.  (Photo by Matt Roberts/Getty Images)
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YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) Japanese champion Kashima Antlers beat Auckland City of New Zealand 2-1 in the opening game of the Club World Cup on Thursday.

[ MORE: Ranking the PL superstars ]

Kim Dae-wook headed Auckland ahead five minutes after half time, but substitute Shuhei Akasaki equalized for the J-League champions in the 67th minute.

Fellow sub Mu Kanazaki then completed the comeback in the 88th, heading home from close range after Shoma Doi nodded a deep Shuto Yamamoto cross from the left back.

Kashima advanced to a quarterfinal against African champion Mamelodi Sundowns in Osaka on Sunday.

The winner of that game will face Copa Libertadores winner Atletico Nacional in the semifinal Wednesday. European powerhouse Real Madrid also enters the tournament from the semifinal stage.

The use of video replays was available during the match but there were no official reviews. The technology is there to be used only for correcting clear errors in game-changing decisions.

Previews of all 10 Premier League games – Week 15

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 10:  Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur (10) reacts after a challenge during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at White Hart Lane on April 10, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
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Week 15 of the Premier League season has arrived with Manchester United hosting Tottenham, Liverpool welcoming West Ham and Leicester City and Manchester City clashing at the King Power Stadium.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live, here ] 

With some intense relegation battles between Swansea City and Sunderland and Hull City and Crystal Palace, there is plenty on the line as the festive season really starts to heat up.

Below are previews, score predictions and everything else you need to know about all 10 games this weekend.


Chelsea vs. West Brom

Leicester City vs. Manchester City

Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur

Liverpool vs. West Ham

Arsenal vs. Stoke City

Southampton vs. Middlesbrough

Swansea City vs. Sunderland

Watford vs. Everton

Hull vs. Crystal Palace

Burnley vs. Bournemouth